Videos showing policemen torching autorickshaws at Mylapore, located close to the Marina Beach in Chennai, have gone viral after Jallikattu protests in the city and across the state turned violent on Monday.
A video doing the rounds on WhatsApp shows a policeman committing arson by throwing a sheaf of burning newspapers into an autorickshaw, CNN-News18 reported. The video is said to have been taken in the Mylapore area of the city that is situated close to Marina Beach, which has been the epicentre of protests against the Supreme Court's ban on Jallikattu.
The video has gone viral, with several actors from the Tamil film industry and political leaders raising questions. Veteran actor Kamal Hassan, a supporter of Jallikattu, tweeted the video. He addressed a press conference on Tuesday morning in Chennai and said: "I am equally shocked (to see video of cop committing arson). I hope some sort of explanation is given to us so that we can calm down... Don't ban anything, I say regulate."
What is this. Please explain some one pic.twitter.com/MMpFXHSOVk
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) January 23, 2017
A second video shows a policeman approaching an object, which seemed blurred in the video. The object catches fire as soon as he moves away from it.
Mylapore Deputy Commissioner V Balakrishnan told CNN-News18: "We are looking into the veracity of the video. We are shocked... We will take action against the policeman if it's true."
Chennai Police Commissioner TK Rajendran told reporters at a press conference on Monday evening, "The videos of police surfacing on social media are morphed. It is a matter of investigation."
A third video showing a policeman trying to set fire to a house has also emerged.
The protests at Marina Beach, which were being conducted peacefully for a week, took a violent turn after the police began to forcefully evict protesters from the beach. The police used tear gas shells and also lathicharged on the protesters. Vehicles were torched near the Ice House Police Station, located close to the beach, and also near Nadukuppam. Police vans were also set on fire.
Students were the first ones to protest against the ban on the bull-taming sport at the Marina Beach, demanding that the ban be revoked immediately. According to media reports, the police hit the students with lathis and batons. There were also reports of protesters pelting stones and slippers at the police while they were trying to evict them from the beach. According to the police, "outsiders" had "infiltrated" into the area and incited violence.
The students later said that they were heading home and that those who were still at the beach indulging in violence with the police were not part of their protests. Actors, including Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth, had urged the students to give up their protest.